Responding to an Own Goal: Learn from Dan Boyle of the San Jose Sharks


I’ve been a San Jose Sharks hockey fan ever since the franchise was first established in 1991. For the last several years I have had to endure early-round exits from the Stanley Cup playoffs when the Sharks were often the better team. It looked like the same fate would befall the Sharks this season as well when in Game 3 against the Colorado Avalanche, Dan Boyle inadvertently shot the puck into his own net in OT after having outshot Colorado 51 – 16 in three scoreless regulation periods. Have a look for yourself.

Granted replays showed that a Colorado player did actually tip the puck when it was played by Boyle. But still, how were the Sharks, and in particular Boyle, going to respond after such a devastating goal and loss?

Before answering that question, own goals are a fact of life in soccer as well. I have been tracking goal scoring at the professional level for over three months and estimate that about 2% of all goals are own goals.

If you are a soccer player, I can guarantee you that you will score at least one own goal, and if you are a defender, many own goals in your career. If it has not happened yet, it will. When it happens, these are some ways I recommend players should react and not react:

  • Laugh about it. You know your teammates are going to tease you about it after the game anyway. You might as well get it started.
  • Forget about it. An own goal is simply a mistake. In any game, 100s of mistakes are made and rarely does anyone dwell on them during a game. Move on.
  • Don’t beat yourself up. What’s done is done. The milk has already been spilled. Pick yourself up, laugh about it, and then forget about it.
  • Don’t become a player you are not. The tendency after an own goal is to try too hard to make up for the miscue. Don’t! Usually when you try too hard, you will make more mistakes. Just continue to play your game.

Back to the Sharks. It turns out that Boyle and the Sharks responded very well to the own goal. Boyle scored 1:12 into the first period and the Sharks won 2-1 in OT and evened the series 2-2.

My prediction is that the Sharks go on to win the series, win the Western Conference, and win their first Stanley Cup. If they do, they will have Boyle’s own goal to thank.

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One Response to “Responding to an Own Goal: Learn from Dan Boyle of the San Jose Sharks”

  1. Responding to an Embarrassing Loss: Learn from the San Jose Sharks « Improving Soccer in the United States Says:

    […] back just a bit. I predicted the Sharks would win the title in an earlier article entitled, “Responding to an Own Goal: Learn from Dan Boyle of the San Jose Sharks“. After scoring the strangest and flukiest own goals I ever seen to lose a game in OT, the […]

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